Tony Modra: The underrated Freo years

Tony Modra
22 May, 2020 by Liam Sheedy

Tony Modra is arguably one of the most popular Adelaide Crows players of all time. In his prime, the high flying South Australian was one of the most exciting forwards in the AFL.

The man affectionately nicknamed ‘Godra’ kicked a remarkable 400 goals in 118 games for Adelaide. But he cruelly missed out on the Crows AFL Premierships in 1997 & 1998.

The full-forward suffered an ACL injury against the Western Bulldogs in the 1997 Preliminary final. And in 1998, he was dropped after Adelaide were smashed by Melbourne in the Qualifying final.

The qualifying final would be the last time the glamour forward played for the Crows.

The bombshell trade

The relationship between coach Malcolm Blight and Modra had soured and the fan favourite was traded at the end of 1998 to Fremantle. That’s where the forward would finish his AFL career in 2001.

Time may not heal all wounds but on reflection Blight has revealed he would have done things a little differently if he had his time again.

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“I should have thrown an olive branch out, but he’d had enough of me and I’d had enough of him. I should have been strong enough in myself to go and sit and talk to him because he would have been handy the following year.”

Still kicking goals

In his first year at the Dockers the new recruit kicked 71 goals in from 20 games to show he still had plenty to offer at the top level.

Injury would force Tony Modra to retire in 2001. But his Fremantle record for the three years he spent at the club still stack up favourably.

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A total of 148 goals from 47 games. The role of the traditional full-forward has changed over the years. But an average of 3.14 goals per game is a return any AFL club would be delighted with.

Best game for Freo?  A nice bag of 10 against the Demons at the MCG in round 10, 1999 certainly a standout.

A week later Tony Modra kicked four goals in his first clash against his former club and also collected two Brownlow votes.

The impact of the star forward in a relatively short stint in the west evidenced with Modra selected at full-forward in the Dockers 25 since 95 team. Representing the best players to represent Fremantle since its inception into the AFL competition.

The Tony Modra highlight reel

Tony Modra is still adored by Crows fans today and you only need to see the legion of fans wanting a photo or autograph when he attends a Crows game.

The Dockers faithful might not have the same level of adoration for the South Australian, but the contribution from Modra in his twilight years at Fremantle should not be undersold.

by Liam Sheedycontributor
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